Sometimes the perfect 24-hour meme falls into our laps, and the announcement yesterday of Justin Timberlake’s new album “Man of the Woods” was that perfect meme. “Man of the Woods” is JT “returning to his roots” or, as the Outline sharply, hilariously put it, “rebranding as a white man.” The album teaser accompanying the tweet is a Levi’s-esque ad of Justin Timberlake running around the Montana wilderness looking melancholy, a bit tortured, and most of all, deep.
Musicians “returning to their roots” or “going country” is a familiar trope in pop music. It demonstrates a sort-of authenticity they think audiences want. It’s pandering, for sure, which sets up said musicians for tremendous teasing. Particularly for Timberlake, whose Rick Rubin and Timbaland-produced smash hit FutureSex/LoveSounds made him a hip-hop star, his “now I’m a country boy” announcement rubbed people the wrong way.
Twitter, as always, was there for the roast.
This is about "where I'm from" aka "where I have a second home" in Montana's version of a billionaire gated community; the performance of American masculinity is so exhausting https://t.co/JWZyTE2phq
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) January 2, 2018
Anne Helen Petersen is over the these-are-my-roots schtick.
so ur telling me justin timberlake went camping once and now he's a mumford and/or son?
— amy brown (@arb) January 2, 2018
This new Justin Timberlake album looks pretty fire. pic.twitter.com/c5m4j3q4sA
— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) January 2, 2018
This is…eerily on point.
i hope the new justin timberlake album is about denim vests
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) January 3, 2018
Considering the teaser looks like a Levi’s ad, it just might be…
if there's not a three 6 mafia feature on the new justin timberlake album then i don't want it
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) January 2, 2018